Binondo Food Trip

We have been living in Manila for almost 10 years now. Ten long years. But not once have we tried one of the basic things to do in Manila, a food trip around THE Manila Chinatown. Well, it’s about time we end the long drought at 10.


We were around 15 strong from our Cebu high school batch – tried our luck in Metro Manila pursuing our college degrees in 2004. We went out as a group on a regular basis during the first few years, having each other to keep us sane while living our lives away from our families. Ten years and several life changes after (i.e. Yza and I became girlfriend-boyfriend.hihi), only a handful are left. We don’t go out together that much anymore, too, since a lot of us are already too “busy” with our careers. Makamingaw sad usahay.

So whenever one of our batchmates visits Manila either for business or pleasure (at least those which we’re aware of. haha!), we always try our best to grab the opportunity for the Manila-based folks to get together as well. Two birds with one stone.

March 22 was one of those success stories. =)

Rovi was in Manila for just 20 hours with a primary agenda of watching Bruno Mars live. As she was arriving mid-morning and with the concert still scheduled in the evening, somehow talks of a Binondo food trip came to be – to keep her pre-occupied during the day. We managed to drag only Gia along for the food trip while the others joined us during the after-concert get-together, which was a different story altogether (it was an epic one, to say the least). But will focus on the Binondo food trip for now (Focus, Eliel! Focus!).


I pieced together a list of places to eat in Binondo based on recommendations from blogs all over the web. The plan is to walk around Binondo and eat from as many places as we can.

Binondo Food Trip Map

We arrived in Binondo at 12pm and left at 6:30pm! We were eating for more than 6 hours! We ate at 8 different places with a total damage of P342 per person. More details below:

1. Dong Bei Dumplings
Yuchengco St. cor V. Tytana St., Binondo, Manila

The place is just small, maybe around 4 tables. So when we arrived in Dong Bei Dumplings around 12 noon, there was a queue outside waiting for a table to free up. We waited around 10 minutes before we were able to get a table.

Binondo Dong Bei DumplingsBinondo Dong Bei Dumplings

While waiting, we were kept entertained by the non-stop dumpling-making ladies strategically situated near the entrance. And I’m not kidding about the “non-stop” part, we passed by this place a couple of times throughout the day (until night) and they were still at it! Salute!

Binondo Dong Bei DumplingsBinondo Dong Bei Dumplings
Binondo Dong Bei DumplingsBinondo Dong Bei Dumplings
Binondo Dong Bei DumplingsBinondo Dong Bei Dumplings

We ordered kuchay and pork dumplings (14 pcs for P100), Xiao Long Bao (6 pcs for P90) and bottles of water to last us through the day.

Binondo Dong Bei DumplingsBinondo Dong Bei Dumplings Xiao Long Bao

No one ate breakfast in preparation for this trip so everyone was really starving. But when the food arrived, there was still time for one group photo before we started devouring these little dumplings.

Binondo Dong Bei Dumplings
Photo c/o Rovi Nuñez

We loved the dumplings! I personally liked the kuchay dumplings over the pork, though. Even after eating from all the places we visited this day, we were still talking about how the dumplings were the best among the ones we tried overall. I’m not sure, though, if it’s really that good or we were just too hungry then when we ate those dumplings (1st stop syndrome – I just made that up). Only one way to find out – will try their dumplings again some other time.

2. Cafe Mezzanine
Ongpin St. cor Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila

This place is situated at the 2nd floor of this building in the corner of Ongpin and Yuchengco. The stairs are located at the Yuchengco side of the building.

Binondo Cafe Mezzanine Binondo Cafe MezzanineBinondo Cafe MezzanineBinondo Cafe Mezzanine

We ordered Special Kiampong (P60 each) and Pork Spring Rolls (P130).

Binondo Cafe MezzanineBinondo Cafe Mezzanine

The food was good, although Yza didn’t like the nuts in the Kiampong.hehe (Yza: I’m just not a fan of nuts, okay?)  The food was a bit heavy, though, which knocked our pacing off a bit. Since we didn’t want to stop after just 2 restaurants (who does?), the criteria for the next destination was some place relatively farther from the others so we can buy time and walk it off for a while.

3. Wai Ying Fastfood
832 Benavidez St., Binondo, Manila

We arrived here at 1:30 PM. This is one of the most recommended places and we surely wouldn’t want to miss this from our list. Despite the place being bigger than Dong Bei Dumplings, there was still a queue of customers waiting outside. We waited for around 15 minutes before we got a table.

Binondo Wai Ying
Binondo Wai YingBinondo Wai Ying

We ordered Shrimp Chong Fan (P70), Hamsoikok (P65) and Siomai (P70). The shrimp chong fan was a strong recommendation from friends so we had to get that. Yza was craving for Hamsoikok (a big buchi but with meat inside) so that was dish # 2. We tried to order Beancurd Rolls but they were out of stock (as always!) so had to settle with regular Siomai instead for dish #3.

Binondo Wai YingBinondo Wai Ying

The Hamsoikok was interestingly good (Yza: Of course!!haha), while we didn’t think there was anything special with the shrimp chong fan (it was just like flat hakaw for us. haha). The siomai was as expected, the same with other siomai dishes we have tasted.

4. Shanghai Fried Siopao
Ongpin St. cor Bahama St., Binondo, Manila

After Wai Ying, we decided some lighter alternatives which brought us to Shanghai Fried Siopao, a small shop with a big sign as below. You won’t miss it. We didn’t know what to expect from fried siopao and what the difference was with normal siopao. Initial thought was a deep-fried golden brown siopao, we were wrong. haha!

Binondo Fried Siopao
Binondo Fried Siopao

We ordered a couple of fried siopaos (P17 each) to share.

Binondo Fried SiopaoBinondo Fried Siopao

The fried siopao looks normal except for the burnt look at the bottom. It contained some sort of bola-bola filling which was very saucy and different (good-different) from other siopaos we have tasted. (Yza: It was SOOOO good.)

5. Big Bowl Noodles
517 Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila

We had a choice between eating fried chicken from Sincerity or noodles from Big Bowl Noodles, since both were just a couple of buildings away from each other. Noodles won the quick debate just because we don’t have enough stomach space for the fried chicken for now.

Binondo Big Bowl Noodles
Look! Accidental selfie!

We ordered a Beef Brisket Noodle Soup (P110) to share.

Binondo Big Bowl Noodles
Binondo Big Bowl NoodlesBinondo Big Bowl Noodles

The lady waitress said their noodle bowls were good for 2 people but with all the food we have eaten prior to this, we thought one bowl should be enough for the four of us. We were right. :) The noodle soup was good, including the beef served with it. I think I need to try their other noodle soups in the future.

INTERMISSION: At this point, we were VERY full. So we (and I mean just the girls. hehe) decided to walk it off for a bit by going to 168 shopping mall to shop for a few things (e.g. tapes with some cute designs, papers with some cute designs – well, basically anything that has cute designs. haha). An hour after, around 5PM, we came back to our food route for the 6th stop – DESSERT!

Binondo 168

6. Eng Bee Tin Chinese Deli
Ongpin St. cor Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila

Binondo Eng Bee Tin

Originally, the 6th stop was supposed to be halo-halo but since we saw this Eng Bee Tin branch just beside the halo-halo place, we made a quick detour. The girls went hopia shopping.

Just outside, there was an interesting ad poster for Custard Hopia (P48) saying “Lalamigin ka sa sarap!”. We had no idea what that tagline meant and what to expect. Haha! Out of curiosity, we were ‘forced’ (maybe brainwashed) to try some despite Yza saying she tried that before and she didn't particularly like it  because it didn't taste like hopia.

Binondo Eng Bee Tin Custard Hopia

Well, true enough, it didn't taste anything like hopia but I like it. Having more than 1 though will be be too sweet for one's liking.

7. Chuan Kee Fastfood
Ongpin St. cor Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila

Binondo Chuan KeeBinondo Chuan Kee

Now it’s time for Halo-Halo. We ordered a couple (P90 each). As you can see from the photo, there was a generous portion of both ube and cheese! Not a big fan of both ube and cheese in general, but Yza is – and she seemed to be very happy with the generous serving.

Binondo Chuan Kee

8. Sincerity Restaurant
497 Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila

Binondo Sincerity

It was already quarter to 6pm when we finished our dessert, so it was time for dinner! Haha. This was our last meal of the trip. The place feels very homey, even their plates, specifically the design, reminded us of our homes in the 1990s. haha!

Binondo Sincerity
Photo c/o Rovi Nuñez

We ordered Sincerity Fried Chicken (P150 for a half-chicken), Sincerity Fried Rice (P80 for the Big serving) and some Kikiam (P55). Their chicken was delicious, it tasted like home-cooked chicken which added to the experience. The kikiam was also interesting. Unlike the kikiam we usually buy from the street vendors (maybe 90% flour), the ones we ordered had real meat inside!

Binondo Sincerity
Binondo Sincerity

All in all, it was a very fulfilling day. Next time, we would probably plan to try the other restaurants we missed – I bet there are still a lot more which need to be explored. For now, this should be enough – more than enough even. :)

Binondo Food Trip
Photo c/o Gia Luga

We left Binondo around 6:45pm on our way to Mall of Asia Arena to drop off Rovi for the Bruno Mars concert. With the heavy traffic in Manila, it was a buzzer-beater, reaching MOA five minutes before 8PM.

We met up again after Rovi was done with the Bruno Mars concert, this time with Karl and Lady. I remember videoke and screaming our hearts out. I remember dropping off someone at the airport. I remember a board game and Lady naming and miming 10 different sports. I remember seeing the sunrise. Awake for almost 24 hours on a weekend just means one thing – it was definitely one for the books!

Blue Wave Music 88Chalenj
Photos c/o Gia Luga (left) and Karl Satinitigan (right)